Technology at health and education’s service
“We run because kids are made to move!”
Marathon Kids is a joint solution to improve the quality of life of future generations. It places in each child, parent, teacher and active member of a community not only the chance to encourage children’s participation in sport spaces, but also to measure, in a quantitative way, every step and goal achieved.
Its impact it’s hard to list, and even harder to rank. It not only promotes sport as a recreational and beneficial for health activity, in a completely free way, but it also increases bonds between its different members. It puts the most advanced technology on behalf of children’s well-being.
Capicua’s team set this challenge as a priority. Not only in technical or creative terms, but also because of the huge social responsibility that it implies. We created a light and fast app according to the spirit of the project and took care of every detail in order to assure that the user experience was magnificent in every way, getting a solid platform that contemplates the variety of people who use Marathon Kids on a daily basis.
Marathon Kids’ goal is to encourage kids, teachers, and families, to get motivated to overcome themselves, as well as leading them on the path to a healthier lifestyle. They take into account that an inactive childhood, with factors like lack of exercise or bad nutrition, could lead to an inactive adulthood.
“That’s why we’re committed to getting kids moving today, so they will be active for life.”
Kay Morris came up with this idea in 1995, after reading reports about the rise of childhood obesity and its correlation with lack of exercising in lower age ranges. That opened the question on how to share her own love for movement and sports to younger generations.
Different studies stated that first ten years of life can completely change the long-term commitment that a child can get with physical activities. Kids need at least one hour of physical activity a day, but only one out of five kids reach it.
She got in touch with the ISD of Austin, Texas, and got in a strategic alliance with Paul Carrozza, owner of a sports store. They expected around 200 middle school kids on Marathon Kids’ first year, but over 1.600 got on board with the project.
Today, over 25 years later, over two million and a half kids have been part of the platform; and it also has Nike’s sponsorship. They aspire to keep working as long as there is a single person trying to overcome their obstacles in terms of movements or health.
The main challenge was how to expand the idea of a healthier lifestyle to different communities. This project had to consider factors such as measure of progress or goals, who gets involved, and which precautions should be taken to guarantee childrens’ safety.
In order to achieve this, the team developed a solid structure that allowed the project to reach its best: a solid base that enabled data storage, strong metrics and eased every member’s commitment. That’s where the team got fully involved to create the support this project deserved. It involved from AWS’ Cloud Provider until Google Analytics; with advanced-guard languages such as Node.js, React, and React Native for mobiles. We took care of each of the types of participants of this platform, paying special attention to Marathon Kids’ core values, such as movement, fun and freedom.
Marathon Kids has a unique ID and QR code for each participant. This QR code gets scanned both at the beginning and at the end of every workout to track and quantify advances and goals achieved. The platform also counts daily activities: for example, the system equates 20 minutes of moderate activity with a mile.
Teachers get a specific type of user inside the platform, which not only has to be approved by the school or establishment but also by each child’s parents. They’re in charge, in school-related activities, of setting times or distances to achieve goals. They can also equate different daily activities to miles to add them up in students’ total advances.
The platform also has a special section created for parents, to encourage them to get involved in their childrens’ activities and also meant to make actions altogether. Besides providing the possibility of exercising together, it has sections that allows parents to start conversations and deepen their family bonds.
It also includes spaces to foment participation from organizations that also lookup to well-being and improvement of quality of life. Any communitarian organization can be added for free: camps, church, OTS programs, etc.
In summary, this project not only encourages kids’ improvement of quality of life. It creates deeper relationships between children and with their parents and teachers, and also opens a dialogue between the adults focused on the child’s well-being. All of this for free for all users and with support of specialized institutions from every district.
As a result of the hard joint work between Capicua and Marathon Kids, taking into account all areas and agents involved and with its goal of improving kids’ quality of life, the platform has won the best Emerging Technology Solution in 2021 edition of The EdTech Awards.
In a project of this size and responsibility, our main challenge was to help an ONG to walk forward on an advanced-garde digital transformation.
We applied a huge spectrum of first-level languages and tools, updated to the highest standards. Besides React, React Native, and Node.JS, we included Bitbucket’s Code Repository, Traefik & Ngnix’s Web Server, and PostgreSQL’s Database (RDS AWS) with 3 DB instances: Dev (T2 small), Stage (T2 large), Prod (T3 2X large). We also used Headless WordPress CMS, Salesforce CRM, and Docker’s containerization.
Now, it’s a responsive platform that combines multiple technologies in an effective, attractive and 100% user-experience focused, to guarantee an excellent service on each person’s daily road towards a healthier life.
We completely renew the image of Marathon Kids, endowing it with vitality and dynamism such like the venture’s core values. Our team created a UX focused graphic line, with a defined colour palette and sections specially created so that each member could find exactly the information for them. Besides, through photography, we reaffirm values such as fun and belonging sentiment, with special focus to cultural diversity, a main point for the company from the beginning.
The team highlighted vital information on the homepage, such as the variety of different roles and how they can get involved, mixed with testimonies from participants and former participants, and enormous strategic alliances, like the one made with Nike. In the different pages, we reflect in a clear way the mechanics of the program, with the system and criteria used to track progress both on a daily basis and in goals’ accomplishment. We took care of common pages, such as Mission or FAQs pages, and the news and blog area, knowing it maintains its community united and updated beyond the sports aspects.
Their experience helped us define how we need to move forward as an organization. – Derek G. | Marathon Kids Tech Chief